President's Column

J. Gary Eden

An exciting trend in the demographics of LEOS is the continuing rapid growth of its membership outside of North America. The accompanying graph illustrates the fact that almost one-half of LEOS’ membership now hails from Europe and Asia/Pacific. This bodes well for LEOS because ours is truly a global discipline and the Board of Governors is committed to reflecting the international distribution of our membership in all of LEOS’ activities.

The globalization of LEOS has long been evident in the membership of the Technical Committees and the Board of Governors and, more recently, was a driving factor in the establishment of CLEO Europe and CLEO Pacific Rim. This year CLEO Europe will be held Sept. 13-18 in Glasgow, Scotland, to be followed the next week by the European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) in Madrid, Spain. All those involved in organizing CLEO Europe ‘98 have done an outstanding job in inviting speakers and garnering local support for the Conference and I urge you to make plans to attend. On Thursday evening during the conference, LEOS will sponsor a reception for all LEOS members to provide an opportunity to renew friendships as well as to foster interactions among LEOS members from different regions. Also, LEOS members from Region 8 who are recent recipients of IEEE awards will be recognized. If you are planning to be in Glasgow, please do join us on Thursday — I look forward to seeing you there.

presfig.JPG (15539 bytes)For the past several years, a meeting of the chairs of LEOS chapters in Region 8 (Europe,Middle East, and Africa) has been held in conjunction with ECOC. Last year’s meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland brought together the chairs of ten LEOS Chapters in Europe and the Middle East, representatives of prospective chapters in four European countries, and six members of the LEOS Board of Governors and the Executive Office to discuss issues of interest to the Region 8 chapters. As a further step in forging an international society, the Vice-Presidents and Board of Governors decided at CLEO in San Francisco to hold a Vice-Presidents’ meeting during the ECOC meeting this year. Following a reception for LEOS members on Monday evening, the chairs of Region 8 chapters will meet with the LEOS Vice-Presidents and members of the Board of Governors to discuss several issues, including proposed new electronic member services, and review the results of the recent survey of the LEOS membership. The LEOS Chapter in Spain, chaired by JosÚ Capmany of the Universidad PolitÚcnica de Valencia, will play a major role in organizing the Region 8 Chapter Meeting. The intent is to establish this as a model for a regular meeting of LEOS leadership that would alternate on a biennial basis between Europe and the Pacific Rim. Specifically, the Board of Governors is planning to hold its first meeting outside of North America in Nice, France in 2000. Each year thereafter, one of the three BOG meetings will be held in the Pacific Rim or Europe in conjunction with CLEO Pacific Rim, CLEO Europe or ECOC. A primary motivation for instituting this plan for the BoG meetings is to increase the participation of European and Pacific Rim colleagues in the decision-making process within LEOS.

Last year, CLEO Pacific Rim was held in the Makuhari Convention Center in Japan and, by any indicator, was a tremendous success. Takeshi Kamiya (University of Tokyo), LEOS representative to the Conference Steering Committee, reported that 868 participants from 26 countries attended the 5 day meeting. Attendance exceeded expectations by 15% and the number of conferees from outside of Japan rose by 10%. The associated technical exhibit, InterOpto ’97, attracted 79,000 visitors and 193 exhibitors. The next CLEO Pacific Rim will be held in Seoul, South Korea in August of next year and, in 2001, CLEO is scheduled to return to Japan.

Establishing support for our members in areas not presently served by a local or regional chapter continues to be an area of focus for LEOS. Through the efforts of several individuals and Djan Khoe (LEOS Vice President for Membership Region 8), in particular, seven new LEOS chapters were established this past year. One region not currently represented among our chapters is Latin America (Region 9) and laying the groundwork for the establishment of a chapter in a strategic city or country of Region 9 as a vehicle to serve the 174 LEOS members of this important region is one of my priorities for this year. Any LEOS member in Region 9 who would be interested in working with Jim Moharam, VP for Membership/Americas, is strongly encouraged to get in touch with Jim or myself.

Please accept my best wishes for a relaxing summer!

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